Shift Product Design

Shift is a lightweight, responsive, secure communications, collaboration and productivity platform. The Shift Platform allows organisations of all sizes to create and deliver highly customised public and private communities.

Shift Product Design main image

The Problem

Since the COVID19 pandemic, collaboration has become more significant for organisations to meet business objectives and innovate.

It has become clear that collaboration between organisations and teams has evolved from emails, shared documents and working together in physical locations. Teams have become more widely dispersed, and the multitude of tools available are detrimental to effective, dynamic collaboration.

The challenge for the Shift internal team at Whitespace was to create a tool that simplified collaboration between organisations, allowing them to focus their business objectives and innovate accordingly.

The Goals

The goal of the project was to understand the current state of the market and create a minimum viable product (MVP) that could become a core product within the Whitespace product range.

Leveraging Whitespace’s industry connections, we aimed to develop a solution that would meet user needs while also serving as a testing platform to determine the future product roadmap.

Discovery & Exploration

Shift had gone through several exploratory phases that helped shape the direction that the internal team identified as the next logical iteration of the product.

I was the lead designer of this next iteration, working with the Shift team to identify the first version core experience.

During the discovery and exploration phase, I worked closely with internal stakeholders and teammates in research to define product requirements and help to establish the product vision.

Three images showing Miro planning and research boards and a screenshot of the Shit competitor analysis

Via multiple discovery workshops, and through general desk research, I helped to create a vision output deck which helped to define the problem statement, identify proto-personas and understand core technical requirements. We used what we discovered to assess the competitive landscape and prioritised our core feature set for first release.

Example screenshots of the Shift product vision presentation

The Solution

Building on this research, we helped the core stakeholders prioritise the MVP feature set that would help prove product value.

Features for the MVP included:

Product Architecture Design

Once the feature requirements were detailed, I created an initial sitemap that set the foundation for the product’s design. The sitemap was validated against our core stakeholders requirements to ensure all sections identified were present.

A screenshot of a product sitemap showing the various sections of the Shift platform

Visual Design

Once the sitemap was finalised, the core sections were designed. The Whitespace team uses an internal design system based on Chakra. This allows designers to rapidly design and build POCs and MVPs and helps visualise the product’s UI more quickly.

Examples of the Shift UI on desktop including the members view, user profile view and Spaces view

Both desktop and mobile UI were considered to ensure a seamless experience on all devices.

Example of the Shift UI on mobile including the events list, search functionality and mobile navigation

Once the designs were finalised based on stakeholder feedback, we carried out usability testing using a Figma prototype via Maze. Following this, further iterations were designed to ensure user journeys were easy to navigate for users and tasks could be completed with ease

A screenshot of the output from Maze usability testing

Once the UI design was complete, I worked alongside the development team to release a first version of the updated iteration of the Shift product.

For smooth developer hand-over I highlighted and annotated user flows within the Figma file. This helped align the team when tasks were being set up in Jira and helped the development team understand the user flow requirements more clearly.

An example screenshot detailing how design helps to handover to development team for the Shift project


Once the MVP was released, we onboarded friendly users to begin a feedback loop to understand what areas could be improved or what new features would be useful for our initial user set.

Initial feedback from users was positive and helped highlight areas where the product could be improved. On the back of the MVP release, one of the subsets of users was keen to have their own white labelled version of the product for their own team. Their aim is to bring together government bodies and universities to collaborate on innovative challenges across multiple industries.

This project highlighted the importance of user-centred design and collaboration between design and development teams. The product continues to be developed further with potential to be released as a SAAS solution for potential clients.

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